All this is very confusing to the consumer. All the consumer hears is, interest rates are at 4 ½, and the government has just spent billions buying mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds to lower interest rates, so in their minds, they're thinking, "Great, interest rates are going to go to 4 percent." They're waiting. But interest rates aren't going to go to 4 percent. This is the bottom. ... It seems the government's plan wasn't so much to bring rates down to 4 percent as it was to cap rates at 5 percent. And to complicate things a little bit more, there's weird thresholds and loan limits. So you have Fannie Mae's old loan limit of $417,000: That's still the magic number. That's still the amount that's going to get you the 4 ½ to 5 percent interest rates. …
The biggest challenge is the low value. When I talk to some of my clients and I say, "What's your house worth," and they say $900 and the appraisal comes back $550, that's a pretty big disconnect. It's just one low appraisal after another.
I'm [also] getting purchase transaction appraisals that are coming in low. And that's strange, because we're in a declining market and the buyer is walking away saying, "I just got the greatest deal of a lifetime, I bought this house for $400 when the guy before me bought it for $700 two years ago," and the bank is saying, "That's great, but it's really worth $380."
So it's a mess. I'm still doing 10 to 20 deals a month, but I should be able to do 50 deals a month with these low rates. So it's very frustrating.
There's nobody that would not enjoy 4 ½ percent. There's nobody in America that would say no to that. But I can't help most of those people because they don't qualify, for whatever reason. Appraisal, credit score, loan size, debt ratio.